Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Doing "small" well
Mayor Bloomberg said recently that class size in schools doesn't matter - it's having good teachers that makes the difference. True on some level, but simplistic. It really does depend on good teachers - and also a class size that is appropriate for the task.
For hands-on experiences, smaller groups work best. But with a couple extra adult hands, a big class can work, too. (Today at the book fair, it took 5 adults to help 17 K-1's write their wish-lists!) Math classes here are small. What a luxury to have 7 or 8 students working with a teacher on math concepts. They can move along quickly and make sure everyone is progressing. But sometimes a discussion is better with more voices, like the Morning Meeting in 2-3, with 18 diverse viewpoints.
Even when we are all together, the Parker community is small. Everyone knows everyone. And that does take really good teachers who are intentional about making the community warm and supportive. With Buddies, mentors, all-school assemblies, Winter Fridays, and now our twice weekly all-school exercise sessions, our students have the kind of small-school experience that you can't trade for anything.